TALKING FILMS

‘Krantiveer’ revisited: Nana Patekar is a rebel with too many causes in the 1994 superhit

As the veteran actor gets set to delight his fans again in ‘Aapla Manus’, a look at one of his zaniest performances.

On Friday, Nana Patekar will be seen in Satish Rajwade’s Marathi movie Aapla Manus as acerbic police officer Maruti Nagargoje, who upturns a couple’s life when he investigates them over a suicide attempt by the family’s patriarch.

The Ajay Devgn production marks Patekar’s 40th year as an actor. He made his debut in the 1978 film Gaman. The veteran performer described Nagargoje in a recent interview as “a man of few words”. But not all characters played by the Padma Shri awardee have been quite as taciturn.

Belonging to a different universe from Nagargoje is Pratap, Patekar’s character in the 1994 blockbuster Krantiveer. Pratap spouts monologues on demand. Despite the hysteria and eccentricity, Mehul Kumar’s movie was one of the biggest hits of Patekar’s career, one that won him several honours and also sealed his place on an elite list of celebrities who inspire memes and parody videos.

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Krantiveer (1994).

There are three key elements in Krantiveer: good, evil and Nana Patekar.

At the start, we are introduced to Pratap, an adarsh balak who starts his day with the sunrise and seeks the blessings of his mother and deceased father before stepping out of the house. But this is a movie in which things escalate quickly. Within the first five minutes, we have a big reveal and a heart attack.

Pratap is no angel: he has been skipping school to gamble and smoke with his friends. The crushing betrayal induces a cardiac arrest in Pratap’s grandfather. Banished from his home and village, Pratap ends up being adopted by the landlord of a settlement called Laxmi Nagar (Paresh Rawal).

What follows over an unwieldy two-and-a-half hours are a series of convoluted plot twists that seem to exist only as opportunities for Pratap and his self-righteous journalist friend Megha aka Kalamwali bai (Dimple Kapadia) to launch into diatribes. Between them, the pair covers everything from poverty and income inequality to corruption and communalism.

One such memorable tirade comes after crime lord (Danny Denzongpa), with the support of local politicians, orchestrates communal riots and sets homes in Laxmi Nagar ablaze so that his builder associate can make an elite residential complex on the land.

As the fire threatens to fan the flames of strife in the settlement, residents convene for a meeting. Pratap smashes his forefinger with a stone four times. He then grabs another man’s hand and destroys his finger too. Rubbing the blood from both hands into his palm, Pratap hollers, “Yeh Musalmaan ka khoon, yeh Hindu ka khoon! Bata iss mein Musalman ka kaunsa Hindu ka kaunsa, bata!”

A simple nick would have sufficed to prove the same point – Hindu or Muslim, we are all the same – but relevant advice cloaked in ample melodrama is the very essence of Krantiveer.

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Blood ties in Krantiveer.

Patekar sneers and jeers to cheers throughout the movie. Krantiveer is set in a world in which the government, police and judiciary are in thrall to the rich and the powerful. The bad guys are as evil as they come, and the good ones are at their mercy. Between these extremes is the abrasive and politically incorrect Pratap, whose unique brand of morals makes him the only one capable of taking on the mantle of the titular revolutionary.

Perhaps to diffuse the high-decibel tension, the movie also features Atul Agnihotri and Mamta Kulkarni, who make routine appearances to dance around trees. But Krantiveer is, ultimately, a Nana Patekar show. Any importance given to any other character is purely coincidental.

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Decoding the symbolic threads and badges of one of India’s oldest cavalry units

The untold story of The President’s Bodyguard.

The national emblem of India; an open parachute and crossed lances – this triad of symbols representing the nation, excellence in training and valor respectively are held together by an elite title in the Indian army – The President’s Bodyguard (PBG).

The PBG badge is worn by one of the oldest cavalry units in the India army. In 1773, Governor Warren Hastings, former Governor General of India, handpicked 50 troopers. Before independence, this unit was referred to by many titles including Troops of Horse Guards and Governor General’s Body Guards (GGBG). In 1950, the unit was named The President’s Bodyguard and can be seen embroidered in the curved maroon shoulder titles on their current uniforms.

The President’s Bodyguard’s uniform adorns itself with proud colours and symbols of its 245 year-old-legacy. Dating back to 1980, the ceremonial uniform consists of a bright red long coat with gold girdles and white breeches, a blue and gold ceremonial turban with a distinctive fan and Napoleon Boots with spurs. Each member of the mounted unit carries a special 3-meter-long bamboo cavalry lance, decorated by a red and white pennant. A sheathed cavalry sabre is carried in in the side of the saddle of each trooper.

While common perception is that the PBG mainly have ceremonial duties such as that of being the President’s escort during Republic Day parade, the fact is that the members of the PBG are highly trained. Handpicked by the President’s Secretariat from mainstream armored regiments, the unit assigns a task force regularly for Siachen and UN peace keeping operations. Moreover, the cavalry members are trained combat parachutists – thus decorating the PBG uniform with a scarlet Para Wings badge that signifies that these troopers are a part of the airborne battalion of the India Army.

Since their foundation, the President’s Guard has won many battle honors. In 1811, they won their first battle honor ‘Java’. In 1824, they sailed over Kalla Pani for the first Burmese War and earned the second battle honour ‘Ava’. The battle of Maharajapore in 1843 won them their third battle honor. Consequently, the PBG fought in the main battles of the First Sikh War and earned four battle honours. Post-independence, the PBG served the country in the 1962 Indo-China war and the 1965 Indo-Pak war.

The PBG, one of the senior most regiments of the Indian Army, is a unique unit. While the uniform is befitting of its traditional and ceremonial role, the badges that augment those threads, tell the story of its impressive history and victories.

How have they managed to maintain their customs for more than 2 centuries? A National Geographic exclusive captures the PBG’s untold story. The documentary series showcases the discipline that goes into making the ceremonial protectors of the supreme commander of the Indian Armed Forces.

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The National Geographic exclusive is a landmark in television and is being celebrated by the #untoldstory contest. The contest will give 5 lucky winners an exclusive pass to the pre-screening of the documentary with the Hon’ble President of India at the Rashtrapati Bhavan. You can also nominate someone you think deserves to be a part of the screening. Follow #UntoldStory on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to participate.

This article was produced by Scroll marketing team on behalf of National Geographic and not by the Scroll editorial team.